Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Zimbabwe's Prices Rise 900%, Turning Staples Into Luxuries

HARARE, Zimbabwe, April 25 — How bad is inflation in Zimbabwe? Well, consider this: at a supermarket near the center of this tatterdemalion capital, toilet paper costs $417.

No, not per roll. Four hundred seventeen Zimbabwean dollars is the value of a single two-ply sheet. A roll costs $145,750 — in American currency, about 69 cents.

The price of toilet paper, like everything else here, soars almost daily, spawning jokes about an impending better use for Zimbabwe's $500 bill, now the smallest in circulation.

- This makes me soooo sad. When I went to Zimbabwe, my spring semester of 1992, the exchange rate was approximately $1 U.S. to $2.75-$3.00 Zim dollars. Even though there was a drought, Zimbabwe was shipping surplus agriculture to surrounding nations. Zimbabwe had the 3rd best healthcare system in the world. AIDS was a problem, but not an epidemic. Harare was a safe city for a bunch of white Americans to stroll around in, drunk off our asses, going to disco's until the wee hours of the morning. Robert Mugabe's (the "President"/dictator) wife died early on in our trip and there was speculation that he went insane at that moment - there were lamentations for months afterwards by the populous trying to kiss up.

I bitch and moan in my current part-time, dead-end job because one person, my boss, shouldn't be allowed to make the 8 people under her so miserable. But one person, an evil dictator who ironically was instrumental in freeing Zimbabwe from British colonial rule less than 30 years prior, has destroyed an entire country. But then, I guess we have baby Bush working "hard" to destroy our whole planet.

If Bush truly wanted to bring democracy to the world, there would be evidence of it by ridding the world of the Darfur and Zimbabwe nightmares in Africa. But he doesn't care - and we are punishing Iraqi's for his ill-planned occupation and, by lack of attention, punishing African nations through willful indifference.

I am so sad, this just aches my very soul.

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